The psalmist in Psalm 118:24 writes ‘This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it’. It sounds so simple doesn’t it? So often however the joy and rejoicing in our ‘today’ is spoilt by intrusive thoughts about my ‘yesterdays’, concerns for today itself, and worries about my ‘tomorrows’.
The fact is that there is only one ‘today’ for us, and that is the twenty four hours we are presently living through. It’s a precious span of time that can never be repeated and which has its own unique challenges and opportunities. It’s twenty four hours in which we want to live fully alive to all that the day presents us with, and fully aware of the Lord’s presence with us throughout the day.
So how does looking back to the past too much hinder us in our enjoyment of today? Good memories from the past can in fact help us enjoy today, they fill us with hope and good expectations. Other thoughts from the past are harder to handle however, and can prevent us from fully engaging with our ‘present’. These can include worries about what we have or haven’t done well, leading to regrets over opportunities we have missed or messed up. We can even find it hard to let go of the past and forgive ourselves and others.
We can also have unhealthy nostalgic feelings about the past, and allow ourselves to have unhelpful comparisons with the present. The antidote, if we have such unhelpful thoughts intruding from the past, will surely be in thanking God that He has covered all our sins, and that He will weave even our ‘falling shorts’ into His plans and purposes for us. Let us thank Him for all that He has led us through and taught us, and that He is faithfully ‘growing’ us up into Christ in all things Ephesians 4:15.
Turning now to thoughts of the future that can affect our enjoyment of today, they will probably include, not surprisingly, worries and concerns about what is ahead and if we, and those we love, are going to be alright. No wonder Jesus said “do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself’ Matthew 6:34 or, as it is translated in the AV, ‘take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself’.
I like the story Corrie Ten Boom tells of her Father’s encouragement to her about how she will cope with any future suffering. He explains that God only gives us the grace that we need for today. Anticipating the future and how you will cope is bringing tomorrow into today, without the supply of grace that will come with it. So once again thanksgiving is our weapon and our protection from anxieties about the future. Let us thank God, as we cast every care onto Him 1 Peter 5:7, that He cares for us and will be releasing grace for tomorrow when the tomorrow comes.
Finally, we can lose our ‘joy’ in today, just simply by worrying if we will have what we need for the day – time, strength, money, patience, wisdom etc, etc. We need to thank God that ‘His grace is always sufficient’ 2 Corinthians 12:9, and that ‘our strength will equal our days’ Deuteronomy 33:25 and so will everything else that we need too. (I also like what the NASB translation conveys of that verse ‘according to your days, so shall your leisurely walk be’).
Without being too dramatic, we will only have one shot at today, so let’s give it our best, and thank the Lord that there is grace for everything that comes our way today. Our thanksgiving is like a shout of faith to our wonderful heavenly Father, that He will supply all our need as we go through the day,that He is here with us in our present, that He has covered our past and that there will be grace for our future. I think this is how we can help ourselves towards ‘rejoicing and being glad’ in each and every day. Thank you Jesus!!!